Medical 06

Alma Jean (Smith) Bays

July 19, 1933 ~ July 11, 2023 (age 89) 89 Years Old


Alma Jean Bays, 89, of Montague, passed away Tuesday, July 11, 2023.  She was born July 19, 1933, in rural Arkansas, the daughter of Clarence and Jessie (Ward) Smith.

Alma “Jean” is one of 10 children who grew up poor picking cotton and other crops with her family. This work eventually brought them to Michigan to pick fruit. The family found work and settled in Shelby. Jean began a job at a restaurant where she met Elmer Bays who would become her husband. They were married for 56 happy years until his passing in 2010. Jean had an 8th grade education but as an adult she obtained her GED and attended Nursing School at Muskegon Community College. She worked as a nurse at Mercy Hospital for 21 years until her retirement.

Together they raised three Children, Timothy (Ann Marie) Bays, Brenda Bays Frisbey, Asa (Anna Maria) Bays. They had eight grandchildren, Shane Bays, Chad (Rose) Bays. Jared (Andrea) Bays, Dawn (Jeff) Maat, Todd Bays, Melina (Justin) Wahr, Jesse Bays and Samantha Bays; 20 great grandchildren and two Great-great grandchildren.

Alma Jean is also survived by: her sisters and brother in laws, Larry (Jean) Bays, Merlyn (Millie) Bays, Shirley (Roger) Zenker, many nieces and nephew.

Alma Jean was preceded in death by: her parents, Clarence and Jessie; husband, Elmer Bays; all nine of her siblings; sister and brother-in-law, Doris and Gordon Devries.

Family meant everything to Jean, and she will always be remembered as a very loving mother and grandmother.

On behalf of Jean and her family, they would like to thank the staff of Harbor Hospice for their unwavering love and care.

Memorial services will be conducted at 11 am, Saturday, July 22, 2023, at Claybanks United Methodist Church, 9197 S. 56th Avenue, Montague, Michigan 49437, with Pastor Gary Peterson officiating.  The family will receive friends from 10 am until the start of services, Saturday, July 22, 2023. 

In lieu of flowers, consider memorial gifts to Claybanks United Methodist Church.

The Harris Funeral Home, in Shelby, is in charge of arrangements.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Alma Jean (Smith) Bays, please visit our floral store.

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July 22, 2023

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Claybanks United Methodist Church
9197 S. 56th Avenue
Montague, MI 49437

Funeral Service
July 22, 2023

11:00 AM
Claybanks United Methodist Church
9197 S. 56th Avenue
Montague, MI 49437


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